Making gyms and swimming pools more accessible to women

The latest research from This Girl Can has found a number of small changes could encourage women to go to the gym more often.

According to new research up to 87% of the This Girl Can community feel safe to return to gyms and swimming pools where there are coronavirus preventative measures in place. Whilst many women would feel safe the numbers returning have been low for both gyms and swimming pools, 27% and 13% respectively.

Gyms and pools are important in supporting women to be active and with nearly three quarters, 73%, of women feeling uncomfortable in their swimwear and half, 51%, having concerns around feeling intimidated or judged it is imperative that we look at ways to tackle these concerns. The top ideas from the This Girl Can community were:

  • A discreet offer from staff to help with equipment (48%)
  • Hooks by the pool to hang towels to restrict time walking in swimming costume (44%)
  • A code of conduct in the weights room like time limits and re-racking heavy weights after use (36%)
  • Women’s only areas/dedicated swim time for women (36%)
  • Fewer full-length mirrors (21%).

These are small changes which could make a big difference in helping women return to physical activity and to help ensure that the gender inactivity gap, which in Greater Manchester sits at 2.5%, does not grow as a result of the pandemic.

Find out more about women's activity levels in Greater Manchester here.

Read the full findings from Sport England here.